The Story Behind My Obsession With Field Notes

Productivity, Reflections

This is the initial blog post I have written first in a memo book before typing it up. I have been reconnecting with the natural transfer of thought from pencil to paper and it has been both fun and inspiring. The classic style of Field Notes and the story behind them is largely responsible for this rebirth.

I have been interested in Field Notes ever since they were first released. Although attracted to their classic style I didn’t know how I would use them since I was capturing more and more of my life through digital means.

A few months ago I encouraged Bethany, my girlfriend, to pursue her long-dormant interest in art. In order to inspire her, we went to an art supply store on a date and purchased a beautiful sketchbook and new pencils. Then we started enjoying “art time” at local coffee shops where she would work on sketching, and I would work on my art, writing.

Instead of bringing my computer to these times I brought a Moleskine memo book. I discovered that enjoying my notebook stimulated creativity and writing just like a nice sketchbook encourages an artist to draw.

This is when I remembered Field Notes. At first I didn’t know if I would like their limited edition concept. Field Notes carries a few standard memo books at all times and once a season releases a limited edition set that features unique paper, cover colors and themes. Then I started watching the videos that they have produced with the stories behind these editions and I was drawn in by the narrative.

One example of these compelling stories comes from Field Notes co-founder, Aaron Draplin. He describes how the National Crops edition hearkens back to the days when farmers ran their businesses through memo books that they carried everywhere they went. This reminded me of working for local famers as a Midwestern boy and gave me a new appreciation for this series.

After buying my first set, the standard “Red Blooded” series, I was hooked. I began scouring the internet to find any sold out limited editions that might still be out there. In addition to finding four limited edition sets of memo books I also managed to secure a sold out Field Notes branded leather pouch to carry them.

Reading @ktoddstorch’s tweet to @FieldNotesBrand that he starts a new memo book every month, gave me an idea. I have been trying to find the best process for tracking and engaging with my goals on a monthly basis. After considering apps, whiteboards and other productivity tools, this tweet sparked the idea that I could use a new Field Notes memo book each month for this purpose.

Designing the layout of my monthly Field Notes has given me a new way to visualize and map out what I want to accomplish and remember. As the Field Notes slogan goes, “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.” I love that the limited edition memo books all come in graph paper since this seems to be layout that best fits my design-oriented writing style. I’m so glad that Field Notes has inspired me to dust off the good ‘ol pencil and paper and start writing again!

10 thoughts on “The Story Behind My Obsession With Field Notes

    1. I have always preferred notebooks in church as well. Digital devices don’t feel quite right in that environment unless they are all I have with me. Thanks for the comment!

  1. Hey Andy,

    I couldn’t find another way to contact you (the premium themes forums close topics after a month), so I thought I’d post a comment here. We’ve added a checkbox on your Appearance -> Theme Options page, under the “Post Display” section. The option is labeled “Use regular view for archive pages”, and it will allow you to see the full posts on category pages, instead of the shortened version that is the default. Feel free to delete this comment, and let me know if you have any questions over in the premium theme forums!

  2. Hey Andy, where did u manage to find out the sold out editions and the leather “Pony Express” pouch ? I recently got hooked and was looking for these and boy are they hard to find 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment, Chaitanya. I have looked long and hard to find them! The Pony Express Leather Pouch I randomly found and bought on Ebay. The sold-out limited editions have come from a combination of Google, watching for others looking for them on Twitter and calling retailers who stock them. Are you looking for any particular editions? I would be happy to point you toward anything I have found that is still in stock. Let me know…

      1. Aha ! this is indeed scire quod sciendum ! Well I am really trying to get my hands on the Leather Pouch will keep scavenging for it on eBay I guess, or have it made :-).

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